FAFSA TOOLKIT

WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT FREE APPLICATION FOR FEDERAL STUDENT AID
FREE APPLICATION FOR FEDERAL STUDENT AID
FAFSA

What is the FAFSA? It is the application that is required to be used by all schools in awarding federal student aid. Completing the FAFSA can qualify students for federal loans, federal grants, and federal work-study.

LOOKING FOR MORE INFORMATION?

THE FINANCIAL AID GUIDE is a free detailed informational guide to start early on financial planning for college.

SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT

FAFSA COMPLETION

Now accepting appointments for October FAFSA Completion.

IT'S NEVER TOO EARLY TO START
COLLEGE PLANNING

If you need assistance at any point in the college planning process, free help is available.

Simply schedule an appointment with the RISLA College Planning Center. The counselors can walk you through every step of the way, help you access financial aid, and answer your difficult college planning questions.

For high school seniors, it's not to late, we can catch you up quickly with the college planning timeline provided below. 

FAFSA FACTS

It's time to start applying for financial aid for college. This means, FAFSA season is here and can be overwhelming to many. So, let’s break this down into the basic need-to-know facts one by one.

FAFSA IS A FREE SERVICE
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It’s even in the name “Free” Application for Federal Student Aid.

EARLY SUBMISSION IS BETTER
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 Two reasons why you should fill out your FAFSA, ASAP!

  • You may receive your school's award letters sooner, leaving you with more time to compare all your school offers.

  • You will have more time to research other options to help fill the “gap”.

QUALIFY FOR FREE MONEY
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Often referred to as "gift aid" because it doesn't have to be repaid, grants and scholarships can come from the federal government, state government, college/university, or private organizations. Almost all of the grants listed below are based on financial need. You must fill out the FAFSA every year in order to remain eligible to receive federal student aid.

EXPLORE GRANTS

 

REQUIRED FOR INSTITUTIONAL AID
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There are many programs that give out money that have different eligibility requirements.  Schools require the FAFSA when awarding institutional aid if they are not requiring completion of the CSS Profile.

DETERMINES ELIGIBILITY FOR WORK-STUDY
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Federal Work-Study provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial needs, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. Students can get work-study positions in some offices across campus, the mail room, the library, the dining hall, etc. Be sure to apply to these positions early as these jobs fill up quickly!

EXPLORE WORK-STUDY
REQUIRED TO COMPLETE FAFSA YEARLY
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  • Federal aid is granted on a yearly basis. Therefore FAFSA completion is required every year for aid to be granted year to year.

  • Your aid eligibility can change from the previous year. For example, a change in family income for example or an additional sibling attending college are some of the factors taken into consideration.

EXPERTS AT THE COLLEGE PLANNING CENTER CAN HELP
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Get expert guidance to complete and submit your FAFSA and/or CSS Profile, turning a long, painful process into a stress-free one. The appointment will take approximately 30 minutes of your time. Our CPC experts are here to help. Check your school’s website for the filing deadline.  Download the list of items needed for FAFSA completion.

MYTHS & FACTS

ABOUT FAFSA

5 Myths and Facts about the FAFSA.

THE COLLEGE PLANNING CENTER

Tips to Completing Your FAFSA

COLLEGE PLANNING SCHEDULE APPOINTMENT
QUESTIONS ABOUT COLLEGE PLANNING?

Schedule an appointment with one of our specialist.

GETTING STARTED

WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN FILLING OUT THE FAFSA

Based on experience, you can break down completing and submitting the FAFSA into 3 basic parts.   Estimate about an average of 40 minutes to complete. Download the checklist to keep track of information and this part too can be a breeze!

STEP 1

PERSONAL INFORMATION

This is basic information to get your FAFSA started. No better expert than you on this subject. Easy peasy.

STEP 2

TAX INFORMATION

If you accept the option to have tax data transferred from the IRS, you are basically skipping the next section of questions because they autofill from the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Easy peasy, once again.

STEP 3

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Ok, a little more work but this part is not necessarily hard.  However you must be prepared ahead of time with the correct documents in order to breeze through this, or you will have to stop and restart while locating the information requested.

GETTING STARTED WITH YOUR

FSA ID

Quick and Easy way to create your FSA ID.

HOW TO PREPARE FOR FAFSA

MONEY FOR COLLEGE STARTS WITH FAFSA!

Everyone should complete the FAFSA which can qualify students for grants, scholarships, federal student loans, and work-study. 

DOWNLOAD THE FAFSA APPOINTMENT CHECKLIST
CREATE YOUR FSA ID
CREATE YOUR FSA ID

The FSA ID is required for both the parent and the student and must be created prior to completing and submitting your FAFSA.

COLLEGE LIST
COLLEGE LIST

Have a list of schools that the student has applied to or is going to apply to. Colleges can calculate the aid when the form is completed & upon acceptance.

TAX RETURNS
TAX RETURNS

Required paper copies of your current Federal Tax Returns for both the parent(s) and student.

W2 OR PAY STUBS
W2 OR PAY STUBS

Have printed copies of your current W2s and/or current pay stubs for both the parent(s) and student.

MARRIAGE & DIVORCE
MARRIAGE & DIVORCE

Parents are required to provide the month and year of marriage or divorce. 

ACCOUNT BALANCES
ACCOUNT BALANCES
  • Parent & student checking & savings accounts.

  • The total value of investments. ex: stocks, bonds, 529 Plan, mutual funds, CDs, NOT retirement.

FILING YOUR FAFSA

A FEW MORE TIPS TO HELP YOU START TO FINISH

FAFSA & DIVORCED

FAFSA & DIVORCED

How to complete the FAFSA for divorced or special circumstances.
FAFSA CORRECTIONS

FAFSA CORRECTIONS

What happens if your information changes or is entered incorrectly?
FAFSA VERIFICATION

FAFSA VERIFICATION

What to do if you are asked to verify your FAFSA.
CSS PROFILE

CSS PROFILE

Find out if  who needs to complete the CSS Profile.

RISCHOLARSHIPS.ORG
SEARCH FOR FREE SCHOLARSHIPS

Look for hundreds of hard-to-find local scholarships.

Get started with your scholarship search today!

QUESTIONS
SCHEDULE A FREE APPOINTMENT

Do you have questions about college planning?  We are here to help you prepare, plan, and pay for college.

KNOWLEDGE FOR COLLEGE
ENTER TO WIN $2,000 SCHOLARSHIP

Visit our Knowledge for College Scholarship page to learn more and enter today!

EVENTS
UPCOMING VIRTUAL & IN-PERSON EVENTS

A free service offered by RISLA's College Planning Center.

RISLA PRODUCTS & SERVICES
COLLEGE PLANNING CENTER

Students and families can be overwhelmed with planning and how to pay for college.  We have experienced counselors that offer one on one assistance helping families understand all their options start to finish.

EDUCATION LOANS

We have been offering low cost, fix rate education loans for almost 30 years.  Helping students and families borrower responsibly to help achieve their higher education dreams.

REFINANCE

Refinancing may help you simplify and save when repaying student loans.  Combining outstanding balances, and securing a low interest rate with RISLA may reduce your overall repayment amount and possibly your monthly payment.

EMPLOYER REPAY

Employer Student Loan Repayment assistance is a tax-free benefit allowing employers to contribute towards the repayment of employee student loans.  This newest in-demand employee benefit helps reduce financial stress for employees while increasing retention and loyalty to employers.